German Biscuits, also known as Empire Biscuits, Belgian Biscuits and, originally (according to Wikipedia) Linzer Biscuits or Deutsch Biscuits.
In the brief history of the German Biscuit that I gleaned from my internet research, it turns out that around the time of WWI, many people started to call these Empire Biscuits instead (remind anyone of Freedom Fries?!) but in Northern Ireland, they continued to be the German Biscuit.
Whatever you choose to call it, this is a simple shortbread biscuit, sandwiched with jam, covered with water icing and topped with a glacé cherry.
These are relatively easy to make although I will warn you that the dough is pretty crumbly and takes quite a bit of reshaping and re-rolling. But stick with it, the resulting shortbread is light, tasty and (unsurprisingly) crumbly.
Traditionally, German Biscuits are topped with a piece of glacé cherry but I topped some of mine with sprinkles, because, well, everything’s better with sprinkles! And I knew that Little Miss Traybakes would like them. She’s a big fan of rainbow sprinkles!
Eagle-eyed recipe readers may spot that I have also listed the ingredient measurements in cups this week. After I weighed my ingredients, I transferred them to my cups to get US measurements. There is also a good conversion chart on the King Arthur Flour website. Hopefully this will make things a little easier for US bakers. Although I must add that weighing ingredients will always be more accurate.
6oz/170g/1 ¼ cups plain flour (all-purpose flour)
2oz/55g/½ cup icing sugar (confectioner’s sugar)
4oz/110g/1 stick butter
4oz/110g/1 cup icing sugar (confectioner’s sugar) for decoration + 4 tsp water
cherries/sprinkles/whatever you want to use to top your cookies!
1. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
2. Mix in the sieved flour and knead until it all comes together. It will still be somewhat crumbly. At this stage, I put my dough into the refrigerator for about an hour. This firms up the butter again and helps to prevent the biscuits spreading while they are baking.
3. Once chilled, roll out the dough, as best you can, on a floured work surface to about ¼ inch/½ cm thick. Cut into rounds and place on a lined baking sheet. I used a 2½in/58mm fluted cutter and got 24 single biscuits from the dough. I’d also recommend using a palette knife or bench scraper to help lift the biscuits.
4. Bake in a preheated 325F/160C oven for about 10 minutes. Leave to cool briefly on the trays before transferring to a wire rack.
5. Sandwich two of the biscuits together using approximately 1 tsp of jam – I used raspberry – and then cover with icing. I needed 4 tsp water to make my icing, you may need more or less, just add a little at a time. What you want to achieve is icing that is thin enough to spread easily but thick enough not to drip off the edges of the biscuits.
6. Top with a piece of cherry (or with sprinkles) and set aside for the icing to set. Enjoy!